The Good Boy Says…

A blog about life, sports, music, politics, and the world in general

2008 – A Year in Review

I’m trying something new.

A few of my more  industrious friends  send an “end of the year” letter in which they recall the triumphs, tribulations and mundanity of their personal years.  Some of these, I’ll admit, are incredibly boring; others are rather enlightening.  Having never written one myself, I figured this is as good a year as any to try to write my own.  Follow me over the fold for “2008 – A Year in Review.”As I sit just days away from the end of an incredibly eventful year, I’m not exactly sure how to sum it all up.  I guess I’ll have to start at the beginning, but make no promises I’ll stay chronological.

Erin and I rang in the year 2008 in Hoboken with our dear friends Cheryl and Aram.  It was a mellow beginning.  We played Wii, drank some beers, and walked home to our little 1BR apartment on 14th Street.  For Christmas, Erin gave me an  amazing dinner at Per Se restaurant – details here.  We went on January 15th.  It was simply the most phenomenal dining experience of my life – 13 courses and over three hours in length! – and the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

Dining out is one Erin and my favorite hobbies, and we had several pretty spectacular dining experiences over these 12 months.  We celebrated two NYC Restaurant Weeks  – one of Erin’s favorite twice-yearly events – and likely spent entirely too much money on food and drink.  Some of our faves this year were, in no particular order: Per Se, L’Ecreole French Culinary School, Otto, Stanton Social, Park Avenue Summer, Eleven Madison Park, Cielo by Angela Hartnett, Tabla, Ouest, and Daniel.

My singing career rolled along this year.  Until my “retirement” from church singing in May, I was part of the professional octet at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Notable gigs this past year included four performances with Voices of Ascension, soloist in a concert of American songs with The Dessoff Choirs, two appearances with The Choir of St. Ignatius, tenor soloist with Clarion Music Society, and three engagements with the New York Philharmonic – Tosca, West Side Story at Carnegie (A-Rab!), and Elektra.

In June, I was promoted at Rockefeller University from Administrative Assistant to Board Relations and Academic Programs Associate.  For the first time in my life, I actually asked for – and received – this promotion and subsequent pay increase.  I felt very grown up!

Late in 2007, Erin and I started checking out the Hoboken real estate scene.  What began as going to the occasional open house morphed into showings with Jen Angeli, our broker and friend based in Hoboken.  We half-heartedly looked at several apartments – many fourth and fifth floor walk ups – and thought our search wouldn’t turn serious until October or November. That all changed one random Sunday in April.  Jen Angeli – while apologizing for “bothering” me so early – called about a place on 9th and Garden Streets in Hoboken that “may be perfect for (us). ”  Intrigued, we went to see it.  We noticed right away that this place was very different from the others.  It was airy and spacious, was  on the first floor, and it had a backyard!  We both loved it.  With a pretty large event coming up in June  – more details to follow! – I shrugged my shoulders and said, “It’s too bad this place won’t  be available when we’re ready to actually buy something.”  I learned a valuable lesson about Erin that day – if she wants something badly enough, she will get it!  The morning after we saw the apartment, she woke me up with the words, “I think we should buy that apartment.”  I agreed to go meet with Joe Dunn, mortgage specialist, that night.  Before the week was out – and with a lot of help from Mom and Dad, 401ks, etc. – we were buying a condo!   We closed on May 30th, moved the next day.  I felt VERY grown up!

2008 also contained the single happiest day of my life – June 28th.  On that sunny, early summer day, I married Erin Christine Kerler.  Despite the heat, our day was absolutely perfect.  Our friends sang for us, read for us, preached to us (Reverand Al!), and celebrated with us.   We wrote our own vows, bet on the Newlywed Classic, danced with our Moms and Dads, and partied into the night.  In all, a perfect, spectacular, wonderful day.

After our wedding, Erin and I planned a very active honeymoon.   We left on Monday morning for three days relaxation at the Boca Resort in Florida before heading to an eco-friendly trip to Peru.  The Peruvian portion was intended to be in two parts – five days at Reserva Amazonica along the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian rainforest, and then four more days at Macchu Picchu.    We spent the Amazon portion hiking trails, sipping Pisco Sours, checking out amazing wildlife, and searched in vain for a jaguar.  Our perfect honeymoon came to a bit of a screeching halt by striking Peruvian workers.  Making a long story short, we left Peru a few days early and spent the last part of our “happy moon” at the TriBeca Grand hotel in New York, vacationing in our own city.

I spent a huge portion of 2008 following presidential politics.   I became, in late 2007, an ardent Barack Obama supporter.  Political discussions – and arguments – became commonplace at the lunch table at Rockefeller.  On the Obama side, Amanda joined me.  Andy, Alex and Beth sat on the Hillary side.  Rarely did conversations really boil over, but conversations often became quite spirited.  After Obama secured the nomination, the Hillary supporters among my circle eventually came along.  Beth Fitzgerald, my brother Matt and I volunteered in Pottsville the weekend before the general election to help get out the vote for Barack.  Before that, I wrote a letter to my extended family encouraging them to vote for him.  This was the most involved I have ever became in politics.  Most of my family DID end up voting for Obama, so I think my letter helped!

Just before Election Day, one other momentous event happened to complete the “Year of Brian” tri-fecta.  My beloved Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series for the first time in 28 years!  The completion of a suspended (by rain) Game Five happened on October 29, the same date as one of the Voices of Ascension concert.  As soon as the concert ended, I ran to a local bar with Charles, Heather, Scott and others to catch the final inning.   As Brad Lidge struck out the final batter, I jumped to my feet screaming.  I high-fived a Red Sox fan, and endured a little light-hearted ribbing from my friends.   To quote Chase Utley, my Phillies were “World FUCKING Champions!”

On the family front, Matt and Michelle announced that they are expecting their second child – a girl to be named Norah – in late January, early February.  Kevin enrolled at Bloomsburg University to finish his degree.   Both Mom and Dad are doing well.  Dad officially retired from Reading Anthracite Company; Mom continues to work as a Surgical Nurse at the Schuylkill Medical Center.  Ewan, turned 1 year old on December 13th.  My parents are having a blast being grandparents.

As I write this on December 20th, Erin and I are looking forward to my first church job-free Christmas in 12 years.  We plan to spend Christmas Eve and Day with my family in Pottsville, and then two days with Erin’s family.  On December 28th, we head to Tampa, FL to depart on our 7-day Western Carribean cruise.  We’ll ring in 2009 at sea, and will be sure to raise a glass to an extraordinary year just past.


December 20, 2008 - Posted by | Food & Wine, Friends, Gigs, Life in general, Politics, Random, Singing, Sports, Travel, Uncategorized |

1 Comment »

  1. Well lets see, you have a beautiful girlfriend, January you have the most fabulous dining experience in your life. Your singing career rolled on. Then a hint, your Church Singing Retirement in May. Three engagements with the New York Philharmonic. April & May find the greatest apartment in Hoboken and against all odds Buy It. June a Promotion and a Raise! (with one of the richest men in the world) So you can Stay in said apartment. June again marry girl of your dreams and have the Wedding of the decade. July have a wonderful Happy Moon exploring the Rainforest, probably with Sting & Bono. Spend the Fall actively campaigning for the 1st African American Nominee of a major political party. With due respect to Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Coalition, and the woman who’s name I can’t remember who ran under the American Communist and Black Panther Party for about 6 elections from the 70’s through the 90’s. The Phillies WIN the World F%^&*#$ Series just for Brian to help round out his perfect year. Then said nominee Barack Obama Wins the presidency. Brother Matt does without even trying what parents the world over only wish for Sires a Boy and a Girl, perfect matching bookends. Though Michelle has alot to do with this. And we pray Norah will safely be delivered soon after you read this. Kevin goes back to college and totally intimidates his classmates with his spongelike learning and no fear attitude, since he has lived in the real world, not like these high school wanna bees. Dad officially retires from an industry that could have officially retired before him. And Brian and Erin get to celebrate Christmas with their Parents and then Cruise the Western Carribean, hopefully with no one doing a swan dive off their patio. To quote the best man at his wedding one of Brian’s unmistakable features is his lovely head. He had others terms but since he’s a blood relative I’ll keep it nice. How do you hide a 666 on such a clean head?

    Only kidding 🙂 At this pace Brian or Erin should be in the Presidents Cabinet by his second term, or further down the road be honored at the Kennedy Center for Brokering World Peace through Song & Fundraising.

    Congratulations, is there anything left to do but rest for 2009? Spiney

    Comment by spineydave | January 5, 2009 | Reply

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